Jan 29, 2010

Duty faith? Nay Mr. Spurgeon

The quotes from Spurgeon are from a sermon of his HERE. This sermon was preached in 1864. Spurgeon's sermon "What God Cannot Do!" may be found in Volume 10, sermon 568 on pg. 253. The quotes from John Gill have been collected from various writings from him which can be found on this blog. I have formed these quotes so that they appear as a dialogue. John Gill died before Spurgeon came on the scene. But, I imagine that Gill might have responded with the truths which he faithfully defended. The portions from John Gill have been collected from these works:

John Gill, The Body of Divinity: "Of the Gospel", "SERMON 95 AN ANSWER TO THE BIRMINGHAM DIALOGUE-WRITER", and the "Dr. Gill And Mr. Brine Vindicated From The Charge Of Error And Mistake With Respect To Faith In Christ" Sermon

Duty faith? Nay Mr. Spurgeon
A created reply to Spurgeon's view on duty-faith from John Gill's writings 

Charles Spurgeon: Brethren, if it be so that God cannot lie, then it must be the natural duty of all his creatures to believe him. I cannot resist that conclusion. It seems to me to be as clear as noonday, that it is every man's duty to believe truth, and that if God must speak and act truth, and truth only, it is the duty of all intelligent creatures to believe him.

John Gill: The law is not of faith, so faith is not of the law. There is a faith indeed which the law requires and obliges to, namely, faith and trust in God, as the God of nature and providence; for as both the law of nature, and the law of Moses, show there is a God, and who is to be worshipped; they both require a belief of him, and trust and confidence in him; which is one part of the worship of him enjoined therein: moreover the law obliges men to give credit to any revelation of the mind and will of God he has made, or should think fit to make unto them at any time.

Charles Spurgeon: Here is "duty-faith," again, which some are railing at; but how they can get away from it, and yet believe that God cannot lie, I cannot understand. If it be not my duty to believe in God, then it is no sin for me to call God a liar. Will any one subscribe to that — that God is a liar? I think not; and if to think God to be a liar would be a most atrocious piece of blasphemy, then it can only be so on the ground that it is the natural and incumbent duty of every creature understanding the truthfulness of God to believe in God.

John Gill: As is the revelation which is made to men, such is the faith which is required of them. If there is no revelation made unto them, no faith is required of them; and unbelief, or want of faith in Christ, will not be their damning sin, as is the case of the heathens; ‘for how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?’ No; they will be condemned not for their want of faith in Christ, or His Gospel, which they never heard of, but for their sins committed against the law and light of nature, ‘As many as have sinned without Law shall perish without Law’: if a revelation is made, this is either external or internal; if only an external revelation is made, the faith required is an assent unto it, and a reception of it; and such who do not attend to the evidence it brings with it, or reject and despise it, shall be damned: but if besides the external revelation, an internal revelation is made by the Spirit of Wisdom, in the knowledge of Christ; or if God by His Word calls men effectually by His Grace, and reveals His Son in them, as well as to them; this kind of revelation comes with such power and influence upon the mind, as certainly to produce a true and living faith in the soul, which infallibly issues in eternal life and happiness; and of such persons, and of such only, acts of special faith in Christ are required.

Charles Spurgeon: If God has set forth the Lord Jesus Christ as the propitiation for sin, and has told me to trust Christ, it is my duty to trust Christ, because God cannot lie; and though my sinful heart will never believe in Christ as a matter of duty, but only through the work of the Holy Spirit, yet faith does not cease to be a duty; and whenever I am unbelieving, and have doubts concerning God, however moral my outward life may be, I am living in daily sin; I am perpetrating a sin against the first principles of morality. If I doubt God, as far as I am able I rob him of his honor, and stab him in the vital point of his glory; I am, in fact, living an open traitor and a sworn rebel against God, upon whom I heap the daily insult of daring to doubt him.

John Gill: as for special faith in Christ as a Saviour, or believing in him to the saving of the soul; this the law knows nothing of, nor does it make it known; this kind of faith neither comes by the ministration of it, nor does it direct to Christ the object of it, nor give any encouragement to believe in him on the above account; but it is a blessing of the covenant of grace, which flows from electing love, is a gift of God's free grace, the operation of the Spirit of God, comes by the hearing of faith, or the word of faith, as a means, that is, the gospel; for which reason, among others, the gospel is so called; and it is that which points out Christ, the object of faith; and directs and encourages sensible sinners under a divine influence to exercise it on him; its language is, "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved", Ac 16:31".

Charles Spurgeon:O my hearers! there are some of you who do not believe in Christ; I wish you would look at your character and position in this light. You are not trusting in Christ for your salvation. Remember, "He that believeth not God hath made him a liar." Those are John's own inspired words, and you are, every day that you are not a believer in Christ, virtually writing upon your door-post, and saying with your mouth, "God is a liar; Christ is not able to save me; I will not trust him; I do not believe God's promise; I do not think he is sincere in his invitation to me to come to Christ; I do not believe what God says. "Remember that you are living in such a state as this; and may God the Holy Ghost impress you with a sense of the sin of that state; and, feeling this your sin and misery, I pray God to lead you to cry, "Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief." This, then, is our first practical conclusion from the fact that God cannot lie.

John Gill: [on sincere gospel invitations to all mankind from God] the Bible is hereby knocked down at once, and made to be the most delusive, and cheating book in the world; when the whole Bible is one standing offer of mercy to a guilty world. What! the whole Bible? the Bible maybe distinguished into these two parts, historical and doctrinal; the historical part of the Bible is surely no offer of mercy to a guilty world; the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth, in the first verse of it, can hardly be thought to be so. The doctrinal part of it may be distinguished into law and gospel; the law, which is the killing letter, and the ministration of condemnation and death to a guilty world, can be no standing offer of mercy to it: if any part of the Bible is so, it must be the gospel; but the gospel is a declaration of salvation already wrought out by Christ, and not an offer of it on conditions to be performed by man. The ministers of the gospel are sent to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15.) that is, not to offer, but to preach Christ, and salvation by him; to publish peace, and pardon as things already obtained by him. The ministers are kerukav, criers or heralds; their business is khrussein, to proclaim aloud, to publish facts, to declare things that are done, and not to offer them to be done on conditions; as when a peace is concluded and finished, the herald’s business, and in which he is employed, is to proclaim the peace, and not to offer it; of this nature is the gospel, and the whole system of it; which preaches, not offers peace by Christ, who is Lord of all.

[on trusting Christ for your salvation being the duty of all mankind] Those who only save [hear] the outward ministry of the word, unattended with the special illuminations of the Spirit of God, are obliged to believe no further than that external revelation they enjoy, reaches; as that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, etc., not to believe these things is the sin of all that are under the gospel dispensation, as it was of the Jews; who though they saw his miracles, and heard its doctrines, yet, through the corruption and prejudices of their minds, did not believe [him] to be the Messiah, and therefore died in their sins; nor had they a just excuse, or sufficient plea, why they should not be punished or condemned, for their infidelity [and an] unbelief respecting the Messiah, even though: they could not come to him, or believe him to the saving of their souls, without the special grace of God; they were not condemned for the want of that they had not and which was not bestowed upon them; but for that which was really in them, the sin of unbelief; nor were they, nor are any, condemned for not believing that Christ died for them, but for the transgressions of the law of God, and the disbelief or contempt of his gospel. And as for those, who besides the external, have also an internal revelation of Christ, as they are called to the exercise of evangelical repentance, and to faith in Christ as their Savior and Redeemer, who loved them, and gave himself for them; they have that grace bestowed upon them, and that power put forth in them, which enables them to believe and repent.

No man will be lost or damned because he has not this faith; to say that God will damn any man because he has not this special faith in Christ, is to represent Him as the most cruel of all beings, as the Arminians say we make Him to be; to damn a man for that which is solely in His own power to give; for no man can believe in Christ with this sort of faith, unless it be given him of His Father; and which yet he determines not to give unto him, as unto all the non-elect; and which man never had in his power to have or exercise, no, not in the state of innocence. Can any man believe that God will ever damn a man on such an account as this? This is just such good sense as if it should be said, that a malefactor dies in Tyburn for want of receiving the king's pardon he did not think fit to give him; it is true, if the king had given him his pardon, and he had received it, it would have saved him from dying; but then it is not the want of the king's pardon, or of his receiving it, that is the cause of his condemnation and death, but the crimes he was charged with and convicted of in open court. So, if it please God to give men special faith in Christ, for the remission of their sins, they will certainly be saved; but then it is not the want of this faith in the blood of Christ, for the pardon of sins, that is the cause of any man's condemnation and death, but the transgressions of the Law of God, and the contempt of His Gospel they have been guilty of.

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions